Once you start to recognize the cues early, the fussing drops dramatically. You would be surprised how little time your baby is up and active before she wants to decompress. Search the internet, read books and most importantly study and observe your baby to learn these cues. In addition to learning the cues, be a clock watcher. No, this doesn't mean becoming a strict over scheduled mom, but it does mean to use the clock to your advantage to help guide you and help you feel more confident in your wind down timing decisions (let's be real, sometimes baby cues can be very mixed! Let the clock reinforce you when you suspect that your little one is getting tired).
For my 3.5 monther, two hours up and active is about the limit before she starts to get fussy and tired. Therefore, when she wakes I take note of the time. Then I count forward and note the time that she'll most likely need to sleep again and when (30 minutes prior to that) would be a good guide post as to when to start the wind down process. Again, you don't have to be strict or scheduled here - this clock watching is just a general guidepost - but believe me, it helps to have these guidelines to order your day and know what to do when.
Average awake times are different for each baby and also depends on age. Here are some general guidelines:
Awake time for babies
Newborn 50-60 mins
- 1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
- 2 months 1 hour and 15 - 20 mins
- 3 months 1 hour and 20 - 30 mins
- 4 months 1 hour and 45 - 2 hours
- 5 months 2 hours - 2.25 hours
- Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-2.5 hours
- 6.5 - 7 months 2.75-3 hours. Some are getting more.
- 8 - 10 months 3 - 4 hours. Some are getting more.
- 11 - 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap
Remember these are guidelines, not rules, so go with your baby's flow. Here are some links, too for places to read more about sleep cues.
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Lexi Pearson @ One Week Old